5 Best Video Formats to Market Videos Better Online 

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You can spend all the effort and time you want in creating stunning videos, but it won’t mean anything unless you give it to your viewers in a way that they can enjoy watching it. That’s precisely why choosing one of the compatible and best video formats makes it incredibly important.

A suitable video file format provides the highest quality and ensures that the file size is compressed with universal compatibility. In the current digital scenario, you will come across different types of video formats used—enough to leave you perplexed as to which to choose.

To make sure that you choose the best video format for storing and uploading them online, here’s a guide that explains each file structure in-depth and what purpose each serves.

Before we take a deep dive into the different video formats, some take a look at some impressive figures show why video is rapidly becoming the content marketing gold mine.

  • By 2023, videos will make up 82% of the Global Consumer Traffic, and the devices linked to IP networks will be 3x more than the Global population. (Source: Cisco)
  • 6 out of 10 people prefer watching online videos over television. (Source: Google)
  • 43% of users want businesses to make more video content. (Source: Hubspot)
  • 75% of the videos are watched on mobile devices, and 92% tend to share it with others. (Source: eMarketer, Wordstream)
  •  People are 1.5x more likely to watch videos on their smartphones than on any other device. (Source: Facebook)

These numbers will probably leave you thinking about a commonly asked question—Is your video in the right file format to be watched on mobile or, possibly, any device that your viewers wish to watch it on?

Let’s understand which video file formats are ideal to use to ensure that the videos you create are compatible with any device.

Best Video Formats for Social Media Platforms

Here are preferred video file formats for Popular Social Platforms:

Platform Best Video Format Size Limit Frame Rate
Instagram IGTV MP4 650MB or 3.6GB (For large or verified accounts) 30 frames per second (minimum)
Instagram MP4 (H.264 Codec and AAC audio but 3500 kbps bitrate for video) 15 MB 30 frames per second or less
Facebook MP4 or MOV (with H.264 Codec and AAC audio) 1.75 GB 30 frames per second or less
Twitter MP4 (with H.264 Codec & AAC Low Complexity audio) 15 MB 40 frames per second or less
YouTube Though MP4 is the best, YouTube supports almost all video formats  128 GB Most frame rate settings
LinkedIn MP4 (H.264 Codec and AAC audio) 5 GB 30 frames per second maximum

List of Best Video Formats to Use 

A few years back, video shooting and editing were complicated processes, especially when video cameras were first introduced with VHS-C, VHS, and Betamax. But when the digital age emerged, there was an array of video formats—.asf, .wmv, .mov, .rm, .mpeg, etc. 

Video file formats aren’t as straightforward as other file types. For instance, let’s say you’re saving a spreadsheet or a document on your computer; you don’t have to worry much. All you have to do is hit the save button. But with video file formats, you have to think about how you would like to save it to make sure it works wherever you want.

We have rounded up some of the best video file formats that you can use in different scenarios. 

1. MP4 file format

MP4

MP4 is a multimedia file format (technically, a container), which stores digitally-encoded video and audio files. Developed by MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group) & ISO/IEC (International Organization for Standardization & International Electrotechnical Commission), the MP4 files were created under the ISO/IEC 14496-12:2001 standard back in 2001.

MP4 is ideal for  Videos posted on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

When to use MP4  If your videos are going to be watched online, then MP4 is one of the best video file formats to choose from as it is compatible with all web browsers. You can store high-quality videos without compromising on storage space.

Purpose: The main objective of developing MP4 was to create a file container that could help store low data audio & video files used for streaming across the internet. Today, most digital platforms and devices support MP4, making it the best universal video file format around. MP4 can store text, video files, audio files, and images. Besides, it can help retain a high video quality and yet maintain relatively smaller file sizes.

How does the MP4 file format work? 

MP4 is a standard video file format that’s used everywhere today. Most handheld devices and digital platforms use MP4 as their default file format.

Interestingly, most mobile phones, tablets, and iPads use MP4 to play audio and video files. Though MP4-supported personal media players are still popular, users often use smartphones or other gadgets rather than purchasing standalone players.

The most well-known programs to play MP4 files are:

However, other applications like VLC also support MP4, and even the other ones in the market come down to its ability to support various features and formats.

Advantages of using MP4 file format:

2. MOV file format

MOV

MOV is a multimedia file format created by Apple in 1998 to make audio and video files compatible with Windows and Macintosh systems. It might contain various tracks to help store different kinds of media data.

MOV is ideal for YouTube, Facebook, and TV viewing.

When to use MOV If you are an Apple user, then editing, storing, and exporting high-quality videos in MOV format will not be a problem.

Purpose: MOV is also called QTFF or QuickTime File Format, which is widely used for saving movies and video files. Like MP4, even a MOV video is encoded or compressed with MPEG-4 codec. MOV video file format can store video, audio, 3D, graphics, animation, virtual reality, text, timecodes, and subtitles. Still, since its quality is so high, it occupies more space on your computer.

How does a MOV file format work? 

MOV format has a different approach to saving as well as distributing files. You can convert it to MP4 files or vice versa, and this can be easily done on Apple’s Quicktime platform without altering the video encoding.

MOV files can also store abstract data points for the media data, which means you can easily edit your files without rewriting the entire media data.

The most well-known programs to play MOV files are:

Advantages of using MOV file format:

3. WMV file format

WMV

WMV (Windows Media Video) is a well known compressed container structure that digitally stores audio and video data in a file. Developed by Microsoft in 1999, WMV runs on Microsoft-supported machines and operating systems.

WMV is ideal for YouTube and online video streaming.

When to use WMV WMV is a good choice if you have a Windows device and have no plans of switching it. It is handy if you want compressed video files with better piracy protection. However, note that WMV file formats are not as high-definition as AVI or MP4, mainly due to higher video compression.

Purpose: Microsoft introduced WMV format as a sequence of video codecs. It is exclusively designed for the Windows Media framework and is great for selling video content online.

How does a WMV file format work? 

WMV is a common file format used for storing videos on Windows. A few third-party programs like Maya also use it for short animations. Like MOV, even WMV format features a high video quality yet at the benefit of smaller file size. WMV format is used in Windows Media Players and offers better compression when compared to MP4. This makes it excellent for online video streaming too.

The most well-known programs to play WMV files are:

Advantages of using WMV file format:

4. AVI file format

AVI

AVI is a good option to go with if storage space isn’t an issue and you want to archive video files in HD. But if you’re going to upload videos on the internet, AVI isn’t the right video format, considering its larger file size.

AVI is ideal for  YouTube and TV viewing..

When to use AVI AVI (Audio Video Interleave) is a multimedia file format, which was launched by Microsoft in 1992 as a part of its Windows software. It contains both video and audio data in a container that enables synchronous audio-with-video playback.

Purpose: One of the oldest video file formats, AVI is admired for its versatility. It was created to ensure that it’s compatible with Mac, Linux, Windows, and even web browsers. It stores audio and video data for playback purposes. Interestingly, all major platforms support AVI format. 

How does an AVI file format work? 

AVI works as a file container to store audios and videos created and compressed using different codecs such as XviD & DivX.  AVI files are used for Windows-based media players or gadgets utilizing the same codec. But due to its larger file size, it’s seldom used for portal devices or video streaming websites.

The most well-known programs to play AVI files are:

Advantages of using AVI file format:

5. WebM file format

WebM

WebM (WebMethods) is a well-known video format created by Google in 2010 exclusively for the web. Comparatively, the WebM files are not just light but also ideal for online streaming. This is why video-sharing platforms like YouTube mostly use it.

WebM is ideal for YouTube, Personal websites, and Online streaming.

When to use WebM  Just like MP4, even WebM is compatible with all browsers. It’s one of the best video formats to use if you can upload them on the internet or to any video-streaming platforms. Since the file size is small with WebM, it ensures that the watching experience is super smooth.

Purpose: Since WebM files are lightweight, they make it an ideal option for online streaming. It is a free, open-source format created for digital video, which can be used for both non-commercial and commercial purposes. 

Contrarily, closed-source file formats need license fees from programmers for working with them, although they are absolutely free for the viewers or audience who watch the videos.

How does a WebM file format work? 

WebM is a container (with an extension .webm) that can hold multimedia files (audio and video). WebM was initially planned to be an alternative to the MP4 format with H.264 codec. When compared to other video file formats, it’s much more small, and thus, making it one of the best video formats to use for online streaming. 

The most well-known programs to play WebM files are:

Advantages of using WebM file format:

Conclusion

When it comes to the best video formats, there is no one-size-fits-all. It all comes down to the software you use, requirements for your video, marketing needs, and much more. But it’s all about first being aware of what video formats go well on which platform, and hopefully, this article has helped in doing that.

You might also find these articles useful:

Five Types of Social Media Videos for your Business
How to Add Subtitles and Captions to Videos
How to Grow Your Fitness Business Online with the Right Tools
How to Make a YouTube Video Online Within a Few Minutes
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